South Bend panel on police and community relations gets heated

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(Krystal Vivian/95.3 MNC)

A civil discussion on the divide between South Bend police officers and the community was sometimes anything but Thursday night.

A panel of South Bend police officers, community activists, and civil rights experts were interrupted numerous times by protesters.

The panel was a discussion of how to find ways to bridge the gap between the police and minorities. It took place Thursday evening at the Salvation Army’s Kroc Center before a packed audience.

RELATED: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg to host panel on police and community relations

Several times the discussion was halted by protesters, many of whom focused their anger at officer Aaron Knepper, according to the South Bend Tribune. Knepper has been disciplined twice without being fired for misconduct and civil rights violations.

The embattled officer has also been named in at least three lawsuits against the city since 2013, including the recent suit centered on the illegal entry of a family’s home in July of 2012 that resulted in the detaining and tasing of teenager Deshawn Franklin, who was mistaken for his older brother.

That incident got further ridicule when the family was awarded only $18 in damages.

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